Its 8:13 pm
Welcome to another edition of “8 Questions with…….”
This week found the cheetah and I a bit burnt of film reviewing,he wanted to catch sunbeams and I was feeling a bit crispy but still in the mood to write. I decided I would ask folks in a acting group I’m in on Facebook if they would be open to being interviewed.
Now normally when I ask,I get 2-4 responses which is pretty average and that would be great. But after sending my questions out,I either don’t hear from them again or the answers in the interview are “yeah” ,”no” or “I don’t know”,in which the interview is no good and I delete it.
But this week was different….I got over 50 responses!! Holy crow,right? This included our first professional publicist and first casting director reaching out. The cheetah and I held a staff meeting an we agreed,we are going to attempt to interview everyone who responded,after all I did ask them,right?
The first actress we talked to is Paula. Paula is young artist who is based in the UK and is getting established there. She recently produced and co-starred in the short film “Who’s To Blame?” a dark comedy that showcase’s Paula considerable talent. Watching her demo reel was a real opener as well…this young lady has some serious chops and we think its just a matter of time before casting directors agree with us and start using Paula in bigger films.
But for now,we are glad we are getting a chance to ask Paula 8 Questions……
Please introduce yourself and tell us a little about you.
Let’s see.. My name is Paula and I am an actress. I was born in Germany, and spent a good part of my life growing up there, before moving all around the world.
I started acting professionally when I was 9 years old, recently finished drama school and I now live in London, where I work as an actress and finish my Bachelor in Business & Management (which I had put on hold for drama school).
How did your career get its start? What do you remember about your first time performing?
I was nine, the first Harry Potter films had just come out and I really wanted to be Hermione Granger. So, I’d decided that I wanted to be an actress (so that I could eventually be Hermione Granger. I don’t know what I thought would happen to Emma Watson…), just like almost every kid at one point does I suppose. A friend of mine had just started acting classes and I begged my mum to let me go too. I didn’t know at the time but there was an agency attached to the acting school and my teacher had suggested me to them very quickly. My mum took me to the audition (I just remember her sitting with the other mums in the waiting room and hating it, because they were basically the epitome of ‘pageant moms’).
My mum and me had no clue what was going on; I remember I thought I was being punished for being bad at acting, because they asked me to stay back (which actually is always a great sign in an audition room when they take a long time to work with you or ask you to stay back – 9 year old me didn’t really see it that way). And then they signed me. Honestly, this story seems very anticlimactic and random, which is honestly what it felt like when it all happened.
I think my first public performance was at the acting schools annual performance. We were putting on A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and a friend and me were both Puck, because our director had decided that Puck should be male and female – I thought that was so cool! And the actress playing Titania didn’t show up, so there was a lot of added excitement for a first time on stage.
How did you land the part on “Everyone Hates Chris”? Did you enjoy the experience?
That was, gosh, in 2005 or 2006?! I think that might have been my first ever voice audition in person, so I had no idea what I was doing, what all this meant, or who on earth Chris Rock was, which weirdly enough is a very relaxing position to be in.
Because it was the German dubbing of the show, the way it works is very similar to ADR; a short clip plays in the original language and voice, you listen and internalise their rhythm, get in touch with that emotional space and then the clip plays again without any sound and it’s your turn give the character their German voice. They worked with my for a bit at the audition, reading a few lines, doing a few clips, and then I got the part. This sounds a bit anticlimactic as well (in hindsight, most of my biggest jobs or experiences felt very anticlimactic the way I fell into them).
It was one of the best experiences in my career, though! It’s amazing to get to work with the same crew and cast on the same project over multiple years and seasons. I loved the people there so much, we’d order pizza or kebab sometimes if we worked weekends or full days (not just half days after school like I would often do), and the atmosphere was so relaxed and familial. It was a lot of fun!
You took a break from acting for your education, did you continue to act at school and university? What were the five biggest adjustments you had to make after your move to Wales?
Yes, I left my agent at the end of 2010, I think. By this point I had been acting professionally for 6 years and although I loved every second of it I think it came to the point where I just wanted to be a teenager without work responsibilities. I applied to UWC and got a scholarship to attend one of their international boarding schools. I think that was one of my ways to live life a little, far away from working on set. I actually didn’t act at all during my time there, I took Visual Arts instead of Theatre and kind of concentrated on all these other things the school and life had to offer, which was incredible, but also made me realise I couldn’t not act.
Moving to Wales was a big step with so many adjustments! I basically moved out of my mum’s and straight to a different country the week after I had turned 16.
I shared a room with three other amazing (thank the lord!) girls for my entire time there, and although it went so incredibly smoothly, it certainly was an adjustment. You learn that not everything is about you, which coming from childhood, where we are all selfish little goblins, is a bit of an adjustment.
A big part was also adjusting to all the different people I met, lived, and studied with in my school. We all came from different backgrounds, different cultures, different languages, different upbringings, different traumas. I learnt to be open, to listen, and to understand because no one ever truly knows about someone else’s experiences, even if they may have experiences something seemingly similar, unless we listen.
I was really good in English before moving to Wales, but being thrown into an environment where everyone spoke so fast, so eloquently, and with so many different accents was so scary! I felt like a failure, I couldn’t get a word out for weeks, and constantly wanted to cry (and often making good on that) when I was asked something because I had so many intelligent things to say but I didn’t have the words to say them. That was a big adjustment. I knew I was fluent when I watched Gilmore Girls in English a year later and understood everything effortlessly.
I also had to figure out who I was outside of my parents, who I was as a person. That was difficult to figure out, but so enlightening.
I learnt how to deal with homesickness, because, boy, was I homesick! Adjusting to my mama not being there was so hard. I had to be my own person very quickly.
What does the term “artist” mean to you?
I think an artist is someone who creates a lasting or fleeting experience through their emotions. It is an expression of inner life or the world as they feel it or perceive it. I think we are all artists in a way, we reflect back how we perceive the world everyday. We all create art in the way we love, the way we fear, the way we treat people, the way we do things, the way we sing in the shower.
You have new short film you produced, tell us about it. How did it come together?
That was such an interesting experience, I am so glad I did that!
When I was in first semester in drama school, a friend of mine had approached a few of us with a script he had written and wanted to make reality. We were all really excited about it and it very quickly became a solid project we were all working on together. My undergraduate degree is in Business & Management and since I have been in the industry for so long, producing kind of felt like a natural way to go. I wanted to see how well I would fare, where my shortcomings were, and if I liked it! I realised that many of the business skills I had learnt immediately helped me and the production. I did, however, realise that there were specific aspects of the production side I had no idea about, for example film financing and recouping. I think I just kind of did what my dad would do and was creative and raised the money we needed via Indiegogo.
I am so proud of what we did! The fact that we started pre-production when we were all in first semester still amazes me, and I am so grateful that I was able to make a film with some of the amazing actors I went to drama school with!
In fact, I am actually starting a Masters in Producing this year, so there’ll be more exciting, challenging producing stories to come in my life I think.
What three people have influenced you the most in your career and in what way?
Oh, where do I start? I have been truly spoiled with the most supportive people in my life! From my amazing aunts, who instilled artistry in my life, to my incredible roommates from boarding school, who are always there for me.
Although I really couldn’t leave out any of the amazing acting teachers and mentors I have had over the years, Sharon Angela has influenced my career and life so incredibly much. She got me to step out of my comfort zone in my craft, and most importantly taught me to trust my work! I hear her saying it in my head every day, at every audition.
So this next one is tricky, because I have 4 amazing parents, and choosing between who influenced me the most is impossible! They all give me so much every day of my life! So, I hope you will forgive me for talking about all of them, because it’s simply incredible that I was given four of the most amazing people as my parents when some people don’t even get one.
My stepmum has been and always is my biggest role model, because she followed her dreams and she fought her way through the craziest obstacles to get there! Her journey has always inspired and driven me in fighting for my career as an actress.
My stepdad is the person who always has my back. His support for my career has been magical and gives me strength every day. He is the reason I got to go to drama school and my career and work is where it is today.
My mama is my superhero, because no matter what situation I am in, she is there with the right words, the right advice, and comfort. She was a single mum when I grew up and I can only remember a single day she didn’t go to work, because she was really sick (my brother and me actually had to call in sick for her, because she was adamant that she would go to work). Her work ethic, and her positivity and kindness in the workplace are something I take on every set and into every audition.
My papa is the person I am in awe of the most. He finds the most creative ways and he has mastered the art of not giving a shit when it’s needed, while always remaining so caring and loving at the same time. Whenever I have to make a tough decision, when I have to stand my ground, or when I don’t really know how to handle something (all of which happen a lot in my career), I look to him and think of what he would do, and I know I can do it, because I am his daughter.
So, I guess these are the five people that have influenced my career. Went slightly overboard, Oops…
Where do you want to go next?
I grew up mainly with TV, Film, and Voice, so I would really love to work on stage more next. There are so many incredible contemporary plays especially by American writers (such as Shepard, Simon, LeBute, Margulies, Mamet, I could go on) that I am just itching to get the chance to do one day – hopefully soon! I am also working on a few projects myself at the moment, which I unfortunately can’t talk about just yet, but I am very excited about them! So, I’m afraid it’s one of those ‘keep your eyes peeled’ moments.
The cheetah and I have flown into London to see your next project but we are a day early. You have to be our tour guide for the day, what are we doing, seeing, meeting?
(Talk up your town, tell us your favorite places, people and attractions)
I hope you like a lot of walking (because I don’t… but exploring London on foot means you come across the most amazing hidden gems and you really get a feel for the place).
We would start with a little walk around my neighbourhood in Notting Hill, because the houses are so pretty, and Portobello Road is very nice on a weekday. Plus some touristy things can’t hurt!
Next, a stroll through Holland Park, especially Kyoto Garden! On sunny days I like to sit in parks and watch people, so that’s what we would do for sure! Followed by a trip to Padella to eat mountains and mountains of amazing pasta for lunch.
Since I just moved to London in September, it hasn’t been that long for me, so we would definitely explore a bunch of things I have never been to before. To me that’s the most fun way to explore a city, by showing guests around! So, we would have to take a trip to God’s Own Junkyard, which is basically a trippy neon sign paradise and I need to see it
The night would definitely end with us getting a drink with my roommates at The Distillery, a fabulous gin bar. Because that’s our favourite place to drink after our living room.
I very much like to thank Paula again for such a great interview and what a great way to start out the most ambitious 8 Questions with run I have ever attempted. There are a lot of fine and very hard working actors,casting directors and film makers out there just trying to leave a little bit of a legacy behind.
Thanks to the interwebs and interview series like this,we all can contribute in making these artist’s dreams come true by supporting when we can.
You can follow Paula’s career by clicking on any of her social media links and also her IMDb page listed below. We also hope you’ll drop a comment below in a show of support which the cheetah will be most happy with…..